Act now or risk disaster, nations told at UN climate summit

Cesar Mills
December 5, 2018

"The impacts of climate change are increasingly hard to ignore", said the statement, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.

The bank's announcement comes as delegates from 200 countries started a two week-long climate change conference in Katowice, Poland.

Non-state actors in the fight against climate change bring the "voice of the people" to the issue, he said, and show an important dynamic in finding innovative ways to "promote a sustainable production and consumption system, as well as in fostering a change in lifestyle". President Donald Trump has threatened to pull the USA out of the Paris agreement because of what he says is the economic damage the treaty's provisions would cause.

Negotiators from almost 200 countries are attending the two-week long United Nations summit, which aims to flesh out a rule book for implementing the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

"Despite geopolitical instability, the climate consensus is proving highly resilient", said Christiana Figueres, a former head of the United Nations climate office.

The United States was the only holdout.

The Paris agreement vowed to limit global temperature rises to under two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) and to the safer cap of 1.5C if at all possible.

The cardinal also insisted that a "change of mentality is necessary, centred on core values capable of highlighting the ethical and human dimension of climate change".

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"The rest of the G-20 have not only understood the science, they are taking actions to both prevent the major impacts and strengthen their economies", said Figueres, who now works with Mission 2020, a group that campaigns to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Arguing that the present "scope, scale and speed of climate finance" was not only "insufficient but not even being discussed properly", the DEA paper says that money should be made available for adaptation activities as well and not just mitigation efforts.

The meeting in Katowice is regarded as a key test of countries' willingness to back their lofty but distant goals with concrete measures, some of which are already drawing fierce protests.

"Katowice may show us if there will be any domino effect" following the USA withdrawal, said Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation and a main architect of the Paris deal.

"It's not one or two players anymore in the global arena", he said.

Attenborough issued a plea for action on behalf of humanity: "If we don't take action the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon".

The climate rally, which organizers called the biggest in Belgium's history, followed similar weekend marches in Berlin and Cologne. But the governor of Germany's most populous state said Sunday it was premature to set a firm date for phasing out the use of coal-fired power plants.

Other reports by GizPress

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